Tiny House Living: What You Need to Know

Aug. 13, 2018Tiny houses are EVERYWHERE. Network television shows are documenting the lives of their inhabitants and decking them out with designer furniture, and design companies are sprouting up all over the place to keep up with the demand for these tiny dwellings.



Typically less than 500 square feet, tiny houses can be mobile or stationary, on or off the grid, and as simple as a converted shed to as elaborate as a miniature cottage. Each design is unique, and it’s not even a lifestyle reserved for minimalist bachelors — entire families are living in these little things!

If you’ve often swooned over tiny hobbit houses and the nomadic lifestyle of a house on wheels, it may be time to start taking a serious look at the feasibility of the tiny house dream for yourself.

 

Kicking the Mortgage

The budding workforce and growing families of today belong to a generation facing unique and enormous challenges — a system that won’t provide for us by the time we’re old enough to use it, a planet under enormous stresses, and wages that are no longer keeping up with the cost of living.

Quick thinkers on their feet, today’s innovators have glommed on to the tiny house movement as a way to reduce their financial burden where their wages aren’t meeting them halfway. Living in debt for 30 years looks pretty bleak from where they’re standing, and suddenly, sacrificing 2,000 square feet for a mortgage-free life isn’t all that bad.

A whopping 68% of tiny house owners don’t have a mortgage at all and were able to fund their little homes with little to no credit. What’s more, 55% have more savings than the average American.

“A [tiny] house built by the owner starts at $10,000 and goes up to around $40,000. For houses built by a company for the owner, [it’s] $30,000-90,000.  My advice is build your own, literally anyone can do it with a lot of hard work.”

-Ryan Mitchell, The Tiny Life

With less money going to a monstrous mortgage and the utilities required to keep up with major square footage, tiny house dwellers enjoy more financial security than most without necessarily increasing their income.

 

Killing Consumption

Another huge win for the tiny house movement comes by design — smaller houses can hold less stuff and require less energy to heat and cool.

Minimalism is a means for survival when you’re living in a tiny house, and as a result, you Konmari your life, only buying and keeping what you truly love and need. Less consumption means less demand for junk that bogs down the landfills and consumes resources to produce.

“I love the freedom that comes with downsizing and living more simply. Less stuff means less to clean and manage! My house stays tidy on a regular basis now and I don’t feel like a lot of my time is spent cleaning. There’s also a deeper appreciation for the things I choose to keep that I never had before.”

— Shalina Kell, Her Tiny Home

What’s more, because these houses are so tiny, they’re incredibly easy to heat and cool. Not only are costs reduced here, but it’s much more realistic to run your entire home off a sustainable, renewable energy source like solar panels when it’s this small. Tesla Powerwall, here you come.

A Hunger for Adventure

Though not all tiny houses are on wheels, because of their size, it’s totally realistic to build them out of old buses, RVs, and trailers. Many tiny house enthusiasts have combined their love for smaller dwellings with their wanderlust to live a life on the road, forever waking up to new sunrises in new places.

What’s really appealing about this lifestyle is that, while some HOAs may not permit you to have a mobile home on your own property, you can usually camp for next to nothing on public lands for up to 30 days (check regulations to be sure), eliminating another bill — bye bye, property taxes.

 

The Comeback of Self Sufficiency

As people switch their thinking to living with less stuff and more experiences, they’re moving on to a lifestyle in which they provide more for themselves. It’s funny to think, but the youngest generations are going back to some of the oldest skills and traditions, learning more about raising their own food.

The incredible part? With no mortgage, they’re able to afford more land to actually make it a reality.

 

Tiny Homes and Big Dreams

Tiny houses aren’t just for couples and singletons, either. Families around the country have built incredible lifestyles for their children in these tiny spaces and are building rich experiences for their kids in the process.

“Figuring out what you need and nothing more is a case by case basis.  A “tiny house” for a family might be 1000 square feet. Don’t get caught up in a number, just think how your housing choices impact your life.”

-Ryan Mitchell, The Tiny Life

“It was a game changer and incredibly freeing to give myself and my daughter permission to chose only what we really loved or needed and the rest could go. From there, we moved into a travel trailer for the duration of the build with only room for the basics – the rest went into a storage unit nearby.

When the tiny house was finished two years later, we moved all of our belongings in and quickly realized that even more downsizing needed to happen. It seemed like the boxes and bins filled the entire house! With a couple more weeks of sorting, purging, organizing, and patience, I was finally able to get everything in its place with room to spare, and we couldn’t be happier with the way things turned out.”

— Shalina Kell, Her Tiny Home

Is a Tiny House Right For You?

Living tiny is a major lifestyle adjustment, so do some research before you decide if it’s right for you. Figure out what your goals of living in a tiny house are — financial, environmental, or lifestyle. Decide whether you’re going to build your own, or if you’ll work with a local company to do it for you.

If you don’t plan to be a tiny house nomad, you’ll need to find some property to build your dream abode on. One thing to keep in mind as you start your hunt for land is that many covenants restrict the construction of tiny homes under a certain square footage — make sure you read the fine print before you get too excited.

 

Is a tiny house something you’ve considered trying out? Tell us about your experience, and share your own tiny house adventure with us on Facebook or Instagram! @AvocadoMattress @hertinyhome @thetinylife

 

Destiny Hagest

By Destiny Hagest

 —  Destiny is a freelance writer with a background in sustainability and natural health. She lives in the mountains of central Montana with her husband and young son. When she's not writing or chasing her toddler, you can find her wandering the quiet wilderness in search of wild herbs and antler sheds.

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